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There were several professional hockey leagues before the NHL began in 1917.

The NHL itself was comprised of members of the National Hockey Association, which began in 1909. The NHL was formed when the owners of member clubs couldn't force one of their fellow owners, Eddie Livingstone, to leave the league.

The NHA was founded to compete with the Canadian Hockey Association, which also became an all-professional league in 1909; the CHA folded in January of 1910 when several of its member teams left to join the NHA.

Lester and Frank Patrick formed the Pacific Coast Hockey Association in 1911, and successfully challenged the NHA for the Stanley Cup until it merged with the Western Canada Hockey League in 1924. Formed in 1921, the Western Canada Hockey League (known as the Western Hockey League in its final season) would continue play until 1926.

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Q: What were the hockey leagues before the NHL?
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